The Oxford Ankara Project in the Fusion Arts Window Galleries

12/07/2023

Witness the beautiful collaboration between Molaloche Concepts, Oxford Brookes University Art Foundation Students, and London-based printed textile designer Chrisanna London.

This project has resulted in a mesmerizing collection of printed textiles that narrate the story of Oxford to the people of Lagos, Nigeria.

Detail of the Oxford Ankara fabric that is on display in the Fusion Arts Window Galleries

We had the pleasure of catching up with Elizabeth Abere, the founder and driving force behind Molaloche Concepts Ltd, who shared some fascinating insights about their journey.

Elizabeth Abere brings together her passion for creativity, entrepreneurship, and empowering women and youth in communities. With a background in accounting, Elizabeth's love for design and crafts inspired her to establish Molaloche Concepts, a platform for unique handmade artifacts & fashionable accessories with beads and African prints. Molaloche Concepts Ltd is located in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Elizabeth Abere
Elizabeth Abere, Founder of Molaloche Concepts Ltd

The collaboration between Molaloche Concepts and Oxford Brookes University began in July 2022 when Amy Harris, a lecturer at the university specializing in traditional textile craft, reached out to Elizabeth. They connected through Instagram, and Amy proposed a project centered around sharing skills and stories about crafts.

What followed was an impactful and mutually beneficial training experience for all involved.

Here's what Elizabeth had to say about the collaboration:

Elizabeth teaching an online workshop to Art Foundation Students
Elizabeth teaching an online workshop to Art Foundation Students at Oxford Brookes University
Each aspect of the project has been an amazing adventure but the best bit I will say is making of the first ever Oxford Ankara Fabric.

It was a live experience for the students, working as freelance designers to design African prints that will tell the story of Oxford to the people of Lagos State, Nigeria, breaking down barriers between continents and promoting respect across cultures.
Design boards created by Art Foundation Students at Oxford Brookes
Mood Boards by Art Foundation Students at Oxford Brookes
I facilitated their learning and appreciation of the history and value of Ankara fabric and different patterns. This understanding aided their capabilities to work on the project of designing theirs. About 10 students participated and did remarkably well with their creativity.
Art Foundation Students at Oxford Brookes creating Oxford Ankara Printed Textiles digitally
The project was made possible working with Chrisanna London, a respected print and pattern designer who gave invaluable knowledge and assistance in the design critique and final print presentation and selection.
Oxford Ankara Fabric
Oxford Ankara Fabric created by Art Foundation Students at Oxford Brookes Univeristy

In addition to the Oxford collaboration, Molaloche Concepts has been running the Skills on Wheels Project for over a year. This initiative aims to train and empower women and youth interested in African Craft Accessories by bringing the craft directly to their communities and groups. So far, over 200 women and youth have benefited from this project, enhancing their skills and fostering empowerment.

Elizabeth Abere with the Skills on Wheels facilitators at the Beading Workshop for Windrush 75, 24th June 2023

As part of the Skills on Wheels Project, Molaloche Concepts organized an African beading workshop on Sat 24th June 2023 to celebrate the vibrant Caribbean heritage community. A second beading workshop took place at the same time at the Oxford John Bunyan Baptist church that had been organised by Oxford Brookes Art Foundation tutor Amy Harris. The events commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation's arrival in the United Kingdom through craft making and design. It was a beautiful opportunity to honor the rich culture and artistic traditions of the Caribbean community.

Craft has no borders! Together we are stronger ❤️💛💚🖤
Oxford Ankara Project in the Fusion Arts Window Galleries

Oxford Ankara Project is part of the Windrush Exhibition that's taking place in the Window Galleries on Friar's Entry between 19th June - 31 July 2023.

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